026_1999-Suzuki-Hayabusa

Suzuki’s Hayabusa is a hugely significant motorcycle for many reasons. Named after the fastest bird in the world, both machine (the early, unrestricted models at least), and animal are capable of touching 200mph. The bike was designed from first principles to oust Honda’s Blackbird from top slot, embracing both existing and emergent technologies. The highly efficient, long-standing Twin Swirl Combustion Chamber (TSCC) piston and head design that goes back to the early 1980s was further enhanced by increased thermal management. Much is made today of torque-limiting clutches but the ‘Busa had one back in 1999. The fuel-injected engine delivered a quoted 175bhp and, 104lb-ft of torque.

The tear drop profile of the fairing is no coincidence, the shape ensuring the bike is as slippery as possible, while that hump over the pillion seat reduces turbulence and drag. In comparison to a Yamaha R1, you might argue that the GSX1300R is carrying too much weight, but the extra kilos help keep it planted on the road. This, allied to a sensible wheelbase, combine to ensure the bike as stable as possible. Although only a year on from the ill-fated TL1000S, Suzuki was seeking to distance itself from the TL’s infamous rotary damper rear unit, with a phrases such as ‘Proven link-type rear suspension with remote reservoir shock absorber’.

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The ability to travel fast, in comfort, over long distance remains a Hayabusa trump card. The motor is pretty much bomb-proof (they’ve been turbo’d without issue), so 15 years on, the ‘Busa is still a top act and prices are low. Good examples of the early models start at just £3000. What’s not to like about a bargain-price rocket ship?

Did you know? Hayabusa is the Japanese for Peregrine Falcon… its diet includes blackbirds!

Tony Carter

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